The head of the Government Employees Union, Bassam Zakarneh, has revealed that his organisation has seen the Palestinian Authority’s plans to force 50 per cent of its workforce to take “early retirement”. The move is said to be part of the PA’s austerity measures which include the removal of staff salary increments and transport and cost of living allowances which, it is hoped, will save the Authority almost $250 million per month.
According to local media sources in Jerusalem, if the budget and cuts are pushed through by the PA, Zakarneh has warned of “strikes and massive protests”. The government, he insisted, will bear the responsibility for any disruption to public services.
Mr. Zakarneh called on the government to discuss the budget with the Palestinian Legislative Council and the trade unions. He appealed to the PLC to intervene and stop the measures being implemented because they will have a negative effect on all sections of Palestinian society.